The world largest conference and expo dedicated to green building, GreenBuild 2011 started with an opening plenary at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Canada on Wednesday, Oct 5, 2011. Hosted by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) along with the Canada Green Building Council, the Greenbuild NEXT marks the ten-year anniversary of this expo/conference.
Some of the guest speaker included, NY Times reporter and Pulitzer Prize-winner, Thomas Friedman, who spoke about the necessity of green revolution, “We’re not having a green revolution (right now); we’re having a green party. In revolutions, people get hurt – companies are forced to change or they die.” He said, “Our revolution will be here when the word green disappears.”
Friedman also touched on consumer demand and how chain reaction can occur from rising food prices to political instability to rising oil prices to eventual collapse of the world we know. Friedman recalls the year of 1979 as the year on path of consumption and the 2008 Economic crisis as the wake-up call of the downward spiral we the world have created. Ending with a call to action, Friedman said, “The challenge we have today is that we must become the regeneration.”
Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO & Founding Chair, USGBC hosted the opening plenary and mentioned that Toronto as a very fitting place to host the Greenbuild expo which celebrates its 10 year run this year. It is also the first time that Greenbuild has been hosted outside of the U.S. About 23,000 people are expected to attend from all around the world making it a global celebration on green building, green innovation and technology.
USGBC also unveiled Project Haiti, a project to build LEED Platinum orphanage in Port-au-Prince in after the wake of the recent Haiti disaster. “If we can build a LEED Platinum building here in the poorest country in the western hemisphere, we can build one anywhere,” said Roger Limoges, chief of staff, USGBC.
A panel of experts moderated by Cokie Roberts, ABC news commentator commenced during the opening plenary. The event ended with a closing remarks by Fedrizzi, who looked to year 2037 as the year USGBC would close its door due to lack of demand for such organization. With such hope for the momentous occasion, Fedrizzi said in regards to the goal and achievement of USGBC, “We changed the world.”
A concert by Maroone 5 finished off the evening for attendees.